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Overnight Markets: Technology shares boost Wall Street

Overnight Markets: Technology shares boost Wall Street

Wall Street gained on Thursday, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index trading near a record, lifted by a rally in Apple shares a day after the iPad maker's strong results, though tensions in Ukraine held the broader market in check.

The Dow Jones industrial average remained unchanged to close at 16,502. The S&P 500 gained three points or 0.17%, to 1,879. The Nasdaq Composite added 21 points or 0.52%, to end at 4,148.

Indices briefly turned lower earlier yesterday amid reports of escalating violence in Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin warned the country against continuing its anti-separatist offensive after government troops killed five rebels and prompted Russia’s military to begin new drills on the two nations’ border.

Data from the Commerce Department showed orders for durable goods such as cars and computers rose more than forecast in March, pointing to faster production that will help spur the economy.

Apple jumped 8.2%, the most in two years, after selling more iPhones than analysts predicted.

Verizon Communications Inc. led declines in the Dow Jones, and AT&T Inc. sank a second day, amid concerns that price competition is shifting wireless revenue.

Qualcomm Inc. sank 3.5% as results fell short of forecasts. Zimmer Holdings Inc. surged 12% after it agreed to buy Biomet Inc. in a deal valued at $13.4 billion.

3M declined 1% after the maker of products from Scotch tape to auto insulation reported first-quarter earnings that trailed analysts’ estimates.

Caterpillar rose 1.8% after the largest maker of mining and construction equipment posted first-quarter earnings and sales that beat analysts’ estimates as it boosted its full-year outlook on improved expectations for the building industry.

In Asia, shares oscillated between gains and losses on Friday in morning trade as investors weighed escalating tensions in Ukraine, Japanese inflation data and corporate earnings.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed at 139 as of 11:06 a.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s Topix index gained 0.8%, after falling as much as 0.4% earlier. Tokyo’s inflation jumped the most since 1992 after the national consumption-tax hike took effect on 1 April.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.7%, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index was little changed. Investors are awaiting China’s industrial profit report over the weekend.

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